An exploration of how trainee counsellors who are practising believers of a world religion experience undertaking counsellor training

Jane Hunt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Title of Research Paper: An exploration of how trainee counsellors who are practising believers of a world religion experience undertaking counsellor trainingAim/Purpose: Research indicates that therapists rarely speak about religion on training programmes (Walker et al. 2004; West 2011; Swinton 2014), and that there is little input around religion during training (Marinex & Baker 2000; Chistodoulidi 2011; Hofman & Walach 2011). Research also suggests that therapists can feel ill equipped to work with religious clients (Chistodoulidi 2011; Hofman & Walach 2011); and that trainees would like more training on religion (Hage 2006; Hofman & Walach 2011). However, it is not clear why trainees don't speak about religion during training, or what type of training on religion they would value. To explore these issues, this project investigated how counsellors who are practising believers of a world religion experienced undertaking counsellor training.Design/Methodology: This was a qualitative study with a purposeful sample. Participants were recruited via advert and information circulated to BACP accredited programmes. Four participants were selected, all of whom identified as practising Christians. Data was collated via semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clark, 2006). Results/Finding: Participants reported some anxiety talking about their religion during training for fear of negative judgments. As a result, participants either did not talk about their religion or sought to defend it against negative perceptions. Participants reported feeling more comfortable talking to supervisors or therapists about religion when it was relevant to the client work or to personal issues. Participants also reported receiving little training on religion, and wanted more input, particularly on religion and mental health. Participants articulated an overlap between Christian faith and counselling theory and practice, but chose not to disclose their faith to clients. Research limitation: This was a small scale qualitative study and therefore has limited generalisability. All participants were Christian, and participants from other religions may have produced different results. Conclusion/Implications: The results highlight the tensions experienced by trainees who are religious, indicating the need for therapeutic training on religion and mental health, and the importance of addressing religion as a matter of inclusion and diversity on training programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBACP Research Conference May 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 20 May 2017
Event23rd Annual BACP Research Conference 'Research and reflective practice for the counselling professions' - Chester, Chester, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 May 2017 → …

Conference

Conference23rd Annual BACP Research Conference 'Research and reflective practice for the counselling professions'
Abbreviated titleBACP Research Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityChester
Period20/05/17 → …

Keywords

  • Religion, Faith, Trainee Counsellors, Diversity

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